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Environmental Impact

Our skin care routines have a huge impact on the environment.

All those bottles, tubes, and containers of product require a ton of energy and
new petroleum to manufacture and transport. Most of this packaging isn’t
recycled, creating untold amounts of plastic garbage.

Many personal care products contain ingredients such as parabens, phthalates, preservatives, endocrine disruptors, antimicrobial agents, plastic microbeads, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, and many more chemicals and microplastics (the list goes on) that find their way into waterways, eventually ending up in groundwater, the foods we eat, and into our own bodies. Once these small plastics enter waterways, it is nearly impossible to remove them.

For this reason, we don’t allow any of these ingredients in our products. We also use as little packaging as possible, particularly when it’s plastic, and make sure it’s a common plastic taken by municipalities that recycle.

Using fewer unnecessary beauty products is better for your skin, your bank account, and the environment.

In our manufacturing process, we strive to eliminate as much waste as we can, and whatever is left over (skins and spines from aloe leaves, cucumber peels, etc.) we compost. We use “ugly” produce whenever it’s available, and dry products that are near their sell-by dates and at risk of being landfilled (but still 100 percent good!)

To understand better how our consumption of personal care products alters our environment, let’s go over what some of the most common polluting ingredients are (both inside the product itself and in the packaging it comes in) and the impact that they have.

  • Microplastics, macroplastics, and polyethylene beads: microplastics get mistaken for food by zooplankton, which are eaten by increasingly bigger sea life, transporting plastic pollution up the food chain. Birds, turtles, seals, whales and countless sea mammals and fish species mistake macroplastics for food, which is often a deadly mistake. They can also become tangled in plastic debris and drown.
  • Parabens: a synthetic preservative found in many cosmetics and personal care products. Parabens are usually not removed effectively by sewage treatment plants. They bioaccumulate in aquatic organisms and disrupt ecosystems. They are known endocrine disruptors, meaning they can interfere with the body’s normal hormonal system. This is particularly worrying for women, as they can mimic estrogen and alter hormone function.
  • Antimicrobial agents such as triclosan: this ingredient is found in a wide variety of personal care products well beyond the medical industry. They also are not filtered out of wastewater effectively and have been found to accumulate in waterways and disrupt aquatic ecosystems. Antibacterial agents are also contributing to the dangerous problem of antibiotic resistance.
  • Palm oil: often farmed on burned or cleared rainforest land because that’s where it is easiest to grow. This deforestation reduces biodiversity, particularly affecting already endangered plant and animal species. This vast array of rainforest plant species have unique chemical compounds found nowhere else on earth. This complexity lends itself to the discovery of new medicines and treatments for deadly diseases and global health challenges. Many of the diseases that disproportionately affect human populations, such as cancer, malaria, and infectious diseases, have origins in or are closely related to organisms found in tropical regions.

Rainforests are also responsible for absorbing much of the earth’s air pollution. They crank out oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide, filter out particulate matter such as dust and soot, and regulate the ozone.

Further, the energy and petroleum used to manufacture new plastic creates effluent in air and water and has its own carbon footprint. And that’s all before it’s even boxed, placed on a diesel truck, and transported hundreds or thousands of miles to be sold. 

Using tons of products comes at a cost. The beauty industry creates mountains of plastic garbage that can’t be recycled and will never biodegrade.

Obviously, we can’t simply stop using plastic, but we can improve the situation by consuming more consciously. The point is not to strive for perfection, but reduction. Buying what we only really need or will truly enjoy is a huge step toward reducing our individual impact.

There are other ways Lumanitas Beauty works to lessen the environmental impact we have:

Ugly produce – an insane amount of perfectly good produce is thrown out simply because it doesn’t meet the aesthetic standards of the grocery industry. This is bananas (literally)! We seek out relationships with local retailers to purchase these scratch-and-dent fruits and vegetables so they don’t go to waste and stores can still make a profit from them. When it comes to produce the adage is true: it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

Rescued food – most foods, including many foods that are perishable, are still good long after their “sell by” date. We look for many of our ingredients, both refrigerated and shelf stable, when they are either about to pass or have just passed their printed dates and stores can no longer sell them. We also work to recover food that is edible but not salable (often because of defective packaging or mislabeling). Because we make all our facials in small batches, we quickly use the ingredients and flash-freeze in their goodness. This keeps food out of landfills and helps reduce fuel needed to replace perfectly good, expired food.

Packaging – no fancy facades here, and the reason is simple: it’s better for the planet. We use a number 5 recyclable cup and an unlined carboard box. Our packaging peanuts are corn-based and compostable, and our icepack can be reused, or the liquid can be drained, and the bag recycled. We believe in making the smallest environmental footprint possible in the manufacturing, packaging, and shipping of our facials, and are always looking for new and better ways to lessen our impact.

The effects of our daily bathroom habits on the environment are enormous. In the U.S. only about 5 percent of all plastic gets recycled. This has been the downward trend since at least 2018, and there’s no reason to think it will improve. The best action we can take as consumers to keep plastic waste out of landfills, oceans and even animals is to use less of it.