Planet Vs Plastics: Earth Day 2024

Today is Earth Day! A day of celebration to honour our remarkable planet, raising awareness, inspiring change and fostering a deeper connection with nature. In my mind, every day is an earth day however if it takes a specific named day to make people sit up and take notice then I’ll get on board with it.

For Earth Day 2024, the campaign is Planet Vs Plastics with organisers EARTHDAY.org are re-affirming their commitment to end plastics for the sake of human and planetary health. They are demanding a 60% reduction in the production of all plastics by 2040; the ultimate goal being to build a plastic free future for generations to come.

Plastics are no longer a imminent enironmental issue; they present a grave and genuine threat to life on this planet. As they break down into micro-plastics (which can take half a century!),  they can release chemicals which make their way into our food and water sources and even into the air we breath!

According to Plastics Europe, as of 2021, global plastic production rose to 390 million tonnes (this is not including synthetic fibres), much of which (44%) is used for packaging.

To achieve a 60% reduction by 2040, EARTHDAY.org’s goals are to:

  • Promote public awareness  of the damage done by plastic to the health of humans, animals and the planet’s biodiversity alike
  • Phase out all single use plastics by 2030 and achieving this phase out commitment in the United Nations Treaty on Plastic Pollution in 2024
  • Demand an end to fast fashion and the plastic it produces and uses
  • Investment in innovative technologies and materials to build a plastic free world

With about 40% of plastic products thrown away each month (the Heinrich Böll Foundation) there is a long way to go to reach the targets but it is very possible.

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Plastic is a still big problem in the beauty industry and it’s not just the 142 billion+ units of packaging the global beauty industry produces every year. I have discussed beauty packaging a number of times but we also need to think about what’s inside that packaging… Plastic in our beauty products is also a problem – The hidden beauty ingredient.

I have previously written about micro-plastics in beauty products –
you can read my thoughts about it here

In 2018 the UK banned the use of plastic microbeads within cosmetic and personal care products. This was a great move but unfortunately the ban only applied to products which rinse-off and not other products and so consequently micro and nano sized particles are still  common place in our beauty products.

Over the past few years we have learnt more about micro plastics but we are still unclear as to the full extent of their impact on our health (and that of the planet). Despite this, the extent of their use means it can still be tricky to avoid them – There are more than 500 micro-plastic ingredients widely used in cosmetics and personal care products!

In 2012,  Plastic Soup Foundation started campaigning against the use of micro-beads in everyday products and developed an app Beat the Microbead, to help consumers navigate the micro-bead minefield.  The app uses a traffic light system to identify plastics in the products and highlight products and brands which have no plastic content.

Brands can sign up to the campaign and can carry the Zero Plastic Inside logo. #lookforthezero

There are loads of brands on the market that are free from plastic ingredients, many of which we know and love and have featured on this blog. Odylique, Weleda, Beauty Kitchen, Inika, Absolution, Neal’s Yard Remedies and Green People are just a few of the brands listed but you can find a full list here.

Microbeads may be tiny but significantly reducing the amount we use is one small step towards a cleaner and healthier planet. Remember. Just look for the zero.

 

Images: 1) EarthDay.org ; 2) plastic Soup Foundation

 

 

 

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