Foil packaging is all the rage right now. Is it really better than plastic?


TerraCycle estimates that a new aluminum bottle has twice the impact on the “cost of global warming” than a new plastic bottle made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is the most widely recycled plastic. By 2050, global demand for new aluminum is expected to increase by up to 40%, according to the International Aluminum Institute, and post-consumer recycled aluminum will more than triple. Growing demand can also drive up product costs. So while there is movement in the extraction of low-carbon aluminium, which some producers say creates up to three times less CO2 in production than new aluminium, that leaves always a case to use the materials already extracted from the earth and not enter for Continuation. “Recycling aluminum is good, but if recycling is bad or doesn’t exist where you live, buy the plastic bottle instead of the aluminum,” Szaky says.

As is often the case with environmental action, this catch-22 unravels the arc of what would otherwise be a very orderly solution. Recycling processes are very, very nuanced with varying statistics and practices around the world – even around a single US state. Since April 2021, Seduce no longer refers to any plastic packaging as recyclable since research shows that most plastics never go through the recycling process. (Less than 10% of all the plastic ever produced has actually been turned into something else.) Consumers still have too much of a burden on figuring out what can be recycled by their own municipality — a Google hole that few people have time for. to take a walk.

“Just throwing anything plastic, paper or metal in the recycling bin and hoping for the best is what we call ‘wish-cycling’ and we really encourage people not to. do,” says Mia Davis of Credo, who also helped launch Pact. Collective, which helps collect and find new uses for hard-to-recycle beauty packaging materials. “I used to do it myself, but it can really clog up the system and even make [the work happening at] more dangerous and expensive recycling facilities. The last thing we need to do is make recycling more difficult.”

The state of California passed a bill in October making it illegal to use the triangle of three arrows – aka the “pursuit arrows” or Mobius loop – on things that will never be recycled, so people don’t don’t automatically assume it can go in their blue bin. Many people mistakenly think that the arrows indicate recyclability when they only serve to identify the type of plastic. (FYI, only #1, #2, and sometimes #5 plastics usually have a chance of being recycled in most municipalities.) Retailers Nordstrom and Credo make it easy to recycle beauty packaging by providing drop-off points by store, so you don’t have to manage shipping products or settle your local recycling rules. Credo is also requiring brands to put plastic recycling numbers on plastic packaging by 2024 (some brands are not adding them), and GreenBlue is also providing assets that will clarify how to dispose of packaging with their How2Recycle labeling system. .

“Very progressive brands recognize that they also need to be involved in the collection process so that they have the materials to be circular,” says Goodrich. “So one thing is to build the capacity to process the material in a way that it can be reused and the other is to make sure that we collect the available material. Both of these things require continued pressure.”


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