If It's Not Plastic-Free, It's Not Cruelty-Free

Happy National Oceans Month!  We thought this would be a perfect moment to re-share a letter from our Founder about why we're working toward creating a #LifeAfterPlastic, beginning with our own plastic-free commitment.  

Our newly-launched Plastic-free Body and Skincare is the fruition of a big, long-term vision I’ve held for our company ­­and the beauty industry in general.

In all transparency, it’s as difficult for a brand to break free from the plastic addiction as it is for the individual consumer to do so. Single-use plastic is relatively inexpensive. It’s also lightweight and unbreakable, which is great for shipping. And, it’s totally, widely available.

Here’s the thing, though: for a brand, it’s impossible to reconcile using plastic while also claiming to be cruelty-free.

Awhile back, I published an article in Elephant Journal called The Blue Bin Lie about the inconvenient truth regarding plastic recycling. In short, it says that plastic cannot be recycled, only downcycled.  And, of the 150 million tons of single-use plastic produced each year, only 7% gets downcycled. That means approximately 139,500,000 tons of plastic go into our oceans, waterways, and landfills.

Discarded, single-use plastics have led to over-burdened, toxic landfills that poison surrounding groundwater as well as unspeakable cruelty to marine life. Here are a few examples:

- Floating plastic ends up in the bellies of whales and other filter feeders.

- Because plastic bags and plastic particles resemble jellyfish and algae, they are frequently consumed by sea turtles. 

- Ingested plastic disrupts the endocrine systems of dolphins, birds, and all other coastal and marine life, creating reproductive issues and diminishing populations.

Scientists believe that over one million sea creatures die each year due to plastics. This number will increase as we produce more plastic. For this reason, it is impossible for any brand — no matter how vegan or unwilling to test on animals it is — to claim cruelty-free status if it’s still using plastic packaging. Ours included.

Before going Plastic-free I did a lot of research on the best plastic alternatives. We chose paperboard, which is renewable and recyclable, and aluminum, lined with a BPA-free protective coating, which is infinitely, 100% recyclable.

Now about the pumps… Many of our Skin and Bodycare products are much more conveniently dispensed via pumps. Unfortunately, plastic-free pumps and atomizers are not available for us to purchase at this time. 

We are still supporting sustainable efforts while we work to transition to something better long-term. The plastic pumps we offer are designed to last up to 10 years with continual use. We strongly encourage you to purchase your product with a pump the first time only.  Here is a post detailing some tips on how to make the most of your pumps and avoid using more of them than you need. 

When plastic-free pumps are available, you can be sure that we will be amongst the first to implement them. In the meantime, we appreciate your willingness to help us create a #LifeAfterPlastic.

Transitioning our brands to Plastic-free was a complicated process, yet, committing to our core values in all ways is 100% worth it. It is my hope that all other Beauty and Skincare brands will feel the same and that Plastic-free becomes the new gold standard.

We hope you enjoy our new Plastic-free, cruelty-free, 100% recyclable packaging.

 - Joshua Scott Onysko 
   Founder & CEO, Pangea Organics

 image credit: @wexor