Today is World Oceans Day, and as a beauty brand with a particular dislike for planet-harming plastic, we thought it’d be a good thing to enter the chat. 

Oceans cover more than 70% of our planet. They’re not just stunning natural wonders; they are the lifeblood of Earth, generating over half of the oxygen we breathe, regulating climate, and providing a habitat for millions of species. But as we indulge in our daily beauty and skincare routines, we’re likely (and unfortunately) contributing to a growing environmental crisis. 

If you can take three minutes today, join us as we dive into how consumer packaged goods, especially in the beauty and skincare industries, are impacting our oceans and what we can do to turn the tide.

The Plastic Problem

Every year, around 11 million tons of plastic waste end up in the ocean. That’s equivalent to a garbage truck full of plastic being dumped into the sea every minute. Beauty and skincare products play a significant role in this giant plastic mess. Consider this: the beauty industry produces over 120 billion units of packaging annually, most of which are not recyclable. These products—ranging from shampoo bottles to skincare pumps and toothbrushes—often find their way into our waterways and eventually the ocean.

Microplastics, those tiny plastic particles less than 5mm in size, are particularly insidious. They can come from a variety of sources, like larger plastic items that break apart or break down, tiny plastic pellets used in manufacturing, or even in purposely manufactured micro beads that are added to exfoliant products and even some toothpaste. Once washed down the drain, they bypass water treatment plants and flow straight into the ocean, where they are ingested by marine life, entering the food chain and ultimately impacting human health. If you didn’t already know, research suggests we ingest a credit card’s worth of microplastics every week.

Ocean Health Needs our Help

The health of our oceans is inextricably linked to the health of our planet. Coral reefs, often referred to as the "rainforests of the sea," are home to about 25% of all marine species. However, they are incredibly vulnerable to pollution. Plastics and chemicals from personal care products can smother coral reefs and disrupt their growth and reproduction.

Marine animals, too, suffer greatly. Over 1 million marine animals, including mammals, fish, sharks, turtles, and birds, are killed each year due to plastic debris in the ocean. These animals mistake plastic for food, leading to blockages in their digestive systems and, ultimately, death.

Sounding the Alarm on Ocean Statistics

  • 120 billion units: The amount of packaging produced annually by the beauty industry.
  • 11 million tons: The total amount of plastic entering the ocean every year.
  • 1 million marine animals: The number of marine creatures killed each year due to plastic pollution.
  • 90% of seabirds: This percentage of seabirds have plastic in their stomachs.
  • 80% of ocean plastic pollution: The proportion of ocean plastic that originates from land-based sources.
  • 200 million tons: The total amount of plastic currently circulating in marine environments.
  • 170 trillion plastic particles: The amount of tiny pieces of plastic currently polluting the world’s oceans creating a toxic and deadly “floating plastic smog.” 

Global Plastics Treaty 

One beacon of hope in this fight is the global plastics treaty being developed under the leadership of the United Nations and the tireless efforts of NGOs like 5 Gyres. This treaty aims to create legally binding commitments to reduce plastic production and pollution. The United Nations is hosting events worldwide to raise awareness and gather support for this crucial initiative. And while history tells us that this is absolutely an uphill battle against big plastic producers and the fossil fuel industry, as a company that sits squarely within an industry responsible for tons of waste, we recognize we are part of this massively important flight. 

Catalyzing Action for Our Ocean & Climate

The theme for World Oceans Day 2024 is "Catalyzing Action for Our Ocean & Climate" - so let’s start catalyzing! Anything that you can do today, in the next 30 days, or better yet for the rest of the year, makes a difference. 

Making a Difference: 5 Things You Can Do to Curb Ocean Plastic

  1. Vote “No Plastic” With Your Dollar: Opt for products with minimal or no plastic packaging. If a product comes in metal or glass, choose that over plastic. The more we avoid plastic, the more we signal to big companies that they need to shift too.
  2. Shop Farmer’s Markets: This is a great one for many reasons, but have you ever noticed how almost none of the produce at a farmer’s market is pre-packaged in plastic!? Bring your own reusable bags and avoid all the plastic waste.
  3. Go Pump Free: Consider ditching plastic pumps - are they convenient? Yes. Are they not recyclable? Also yes. Avoid airless containers and plastic pumps, neither of which are curbside recyclable.
  4. Bring your Own Cup: Small coffee shops or tea houses and EVEN Starbucks, are now allowing customers to bring their own reusable cups! Spare the environment, and yourself, from ingesting microplastics that lurk in almost all hot and cold disposable cups.
  5. Participate in Cleanups: Join local beach or river cleanups. These events not only help remove plastic from the environment but also raise awareness about the issue.

JunkTheory’s Commitment to Zero Plastic

We made a promise since day one that we wanted to be 100% plastic free and we haven’t wavered in that goal. We currently have 1g of plastic in each of our jars and bottles to keep our formulas stable and air tight, but we’re on a mission to create the most sustainable packaging in the industry and that means plastic needs to be fully in the past. It just doesn’t sit well with us that products we use for a month or two, could end up polluting the planet for 500+ years. We believe that metal is the future and we’re proud to be a part of the movement.

This World Oceans Day, we re-commit to being part of the solution. Our oceans deserve nothing less. 

Learn more about our packaging and sustainability goals on our website, at JunkTheory.com.



×