In a long list of things we’ll never use (or do) for sustainability reasons, human rights reasons, and just plan #donoharm reasons, black plastic is high on that list. In today’s blog, we’re sharing the truth about black plastic in the hopes that we as consumers and brands can start eliminating it from our lives #justsayno.
IT CAN'T BE RECYCLED
Here’s the problem with recycling black plastic: the conveyor belts in automated recycling facilities are black. When a black plastic item slides down the belt, the sensors can’t detect it. And it’s not just because it blends in: most black plastic is made from carbon black, a highly toxic ingredient that's not detectable by the infrared sensors at these sorting facilities.
So where do all the black plastic mascara tubes, eyeliner containers, and takeout containers wind up? They get sorted as landfill waste or are incinerated (despite the well-intentioned person who sees the recyclable symbol on the bottom and recycles it).
BLACK PLASTIC ISN'T WORTH ENOUGH TO RECYCLING FACILITIES
Recycling facilities make their living by selling off the various recyclable materials to buyers who will repurpose them into new products. Herein lies the problem with black plastic: it has such a low resale value that it’s not worth it for facilities to make the expensive changes to their machines to recycle it. So, it’s not recyclable now and it doesn’t look like it will be in the future.
IT'S CREATED WITH TOXIC CHEMICALS
Most black plastic are made from recycled electronic components. This 'e-waste' commonly contains toxins like lead, mercury, bromine and cadmium, and studies have shown they remain in the black plastic items they’re repurposed into.
The problem: this material encases so many cosmetics that we put near our eyes and smooth across our skin. The formulas sit inside these toxin-filled compartments for months on end, potentially seeping into our mascara or skin cream.
How could this happen? Cosmetics and skincare are full of solvents and oils that can work to break down the plastic over time, allowing toxins to leach into the formula. Of course, this goes without mentioning the toxic nature of plastic itself, even without any of the hazardous additives included in black plastic.
OUR PACKAGING STANDARD: 100% RECYCLABLE PACKAGING MADE FROM RECYCLED MATERIALS WHENEVER POSSIBLE
Our crystal eyeshadow palettes, highlighters, and cheek palettes are made of 100% recyclable FSC certified paper, recyclable aluminum pans, and water-based soy inks. All components can be recycled in your standard recycling bin.
Our NEW Desert Moon Illuminating Oil is made from a recyclable glass bottle which can easily be recycled in your standard household bin.
Our Radiant Ruby Lip Crème (sold out but coming back soon, we promise) is the first 100% recycled plastic liquid lip component that's also 100% recyclable. By using 100% PCR recycled plastic, we create 25% less carbon emissions than virgin plastic. The outer box is made from FSC certified paper and water-based soy inks that are completely recyclable.
Our packaging materials are also chosen with sustainability in mind:
- FSC Certified cardboard box - fully recyclable
- Sugar-based sticker – biodegradable
Our extra recycling measures: even though our products are 100% recyclable, we offer a free Terracycle programs for customers who don’t have easy access to recycling facilities. Simply fill out this order form to receive your recycling envelope from Terracycle.
To learn more about our sourcing-to-shipping sustainability measures, read our blog, What is Blue Beauty?
For tips on how to recycle all the items around your house, plus how to recycle all your ATHR Beauty products, read our blog,12 Must Know Recycling Truths. Wishing you love, light, and a greener planet.
-ATHR Beauty xo