The Limitations of Plastic Refillable Cosmetics: Why Compostable Paper is the Way to Go

As more people become aware of the environmental impact of single-use plastics, the demand for refillable cosmetics has grown. However, not all refillable cosmetics are created equal, and some may not be as sustainable as they seem. Additionally, "recyclable" or "ocean-bound" plastic and even compostable plastic may not be the best solution for reducing waste. In this blog post, we'll explore the limitations of refillable cosmetics and the advantages of compostable paper.

The Limitations of Refillable Cosmetics Cartridges

Refillable cosmetics are a great way to reduce waste, but they are not always the most sustainable option. For example, many refillable cosmetic containers are made from plastic, which is not biodegradable and takes hundreds of years to break down. Additionally, the manufacturing and transportation of these containers still require a significant amount of energy and resources. These refill systems are being marketed as eco-friendly but really the same as regular single use products.

Furthermore, many refillable cosmetics require specific refill cartridges, which can create additional waste if you decide not rebuy the product you're left with bulky single use plastic. If the refills are not widely available or are only sold in limited quantities, consumers may need to buy more products, which can increase the overall waste.

single use plastic

The Problem with "Recyclable" and "Ocean-Bound" Plastic

Many companies claim that their refillable cosmetics are made from "recyclable" or "ocean-bound" plastic, which can give consumers a false sense of environmentalism. However, the reality is that only a small percentage of plastic actually gets recycled, and much of it ends up in landfills or the ocean. Additionally, even when plastic is reprocessed it is extremely inefficient, burning much of the plastic and releasing more carbon into the atmosphere. 

Furthermore, "ocean-bound" plastic is not necessarily a sustainable solution either. This term refers to plastic that is collected before it enters the ocean, but it does not address the root causes of plastic pollution. Instead, it can create a false sense of progress and distract from the need to reduce overall plastic production.

The Problem with Compostable Plastic

Compostable plastic is often marketed as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional plastic. However, compostable plastic is not as sustainable as it seems. In order for compostable plastic to break down, it requires specific conditions, such as high temperatures and industrial composting facilities. If compostable plastic ends up in a landfill or in the ocean, it will not break down and will contribute to pollution just like traditional plastic.

Additionally, compostable plastic can be made from the same non-renewable resources as traditional plastic, such as fossil fuels. This means that the production of compostable plastic can still have a significant impact on the environment and contribute to climate change.

Why Compostable Paper is the Best Solution

Compostable paper is a more sustainable solution for refillable cosmetics. Unlike plastic, paper is biodegradable and can break down in just a few months, depending on the conditions. Additionally, paper can be made from renewable resources, like bamboo, sugarcane, and wood processing byproducts, which reduces the impact on the environment.

Compostable paper also has a lower carbon footprint than plastic, as it requires less energy to produce and transport. Additionally, many compostable paper products can be made without harmful chemicals or additives, making them safer for both consumers and the environment.

compostable paper tubes

While refillable cosmetics can be a step towards reducing waste, it's important to consider the overall sustainability of the product. "Recyclable" or "ocean-bound" plastic and even compostable plastic may not be the best solution for reducing waste, as they don't address the root causes of plastic pollution and can still have a significant environmental impact. Instead, compostable paper is a more sustainable solution that can break down naturally and be made from renewable resources. By choosing compostable paper, we can take a step towards reducing waste and creating a more sustainable future.

Silt is uniquely positioned in the skin care world to utilize paper instead of plastic. Since we don't use any water in our formulas our dry powders are able to be packaged in paper. This is why we're launching our Kickstarter to launch paper refills at Silt. If we reach our goal all of our products will be able in paper refills! Pre-order our new powder body wash and powder body polish through this Kickstarter and help us guarantee the launch of our paper refills!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published