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How has the cosmetic industry affected our natural resources?

In today's times when the world is developing all around, there's definitely a cost attached. The cost is the uninhibited exploitation of our natural resources. The quality of water is deteriorating each and every second, trees are being cut down, our water bodies are being used to vent out harmful, toxic waste from the industries. There's a need to bring in proper management methods of this waste that industries create, cosmetics industry being one of the leaders in creating waste in the environment. There are many industries and brands that have already adopted such methods but the scale of waste is so much that these don't help. Even after adopting properly strategised and well-schemed methods, the results are not as much as they should be. The focus of people, brands and all the industries should be on how to preserve these natural resources, water being one of the richest resource that needs some saving for sure!  It is a crucial part of our lifestyle yet we see so many people around us using it like no one’s business! Upsetting! Isn’t it? Do you know once the water gets contaminated, it’s near to impossible to get the pollutants removed! Water Pollution is actually one of the main environmental issues faced by us. When it comes to India, it is said that about 80% of water bodies are foul. As much as India is growing and urbanizing, the water bodies are becoming toxic and unsafe for use. This effect is long-lasting and continues to multiply.

Water pollution has widely affected biodiversity and aquatic animals. The toxic chemicals present in water, kill all the flora and fauna and have an adverse effect on the aquatic lifestyle. There’s also a rise in water temperature, causing thermal pollution, that increases global warming. On the other hand, it also has a severe impact on everyone's health and deteriorates it for the worst. Humans are more likely to suffer from diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, or skin infections caused by consuming contaminated water leading to serious health issues.

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But the question arises - Does the cosmetic industry really exploit water? 

The sad truth is that it does! Unfortunately, the cosmetic industry has a negative impact on water bodies. Cosmetics have chemicals that are easily absorbed into the soil, rivers, oceans, and even drinking water, posing a threat to natural habitat and species. 

We do personal self care on a daily basis! Right? Using products such as soaps, shower gels, oils, shampoos and conditioners while taking a bath ends up running down the pipe ending up directly into the drain! It’s not the product actually, but the chemical composition it contains that makes it worse. Thereafter, they move to the sewage treatment plant, where the process of wastewater clarification is done. What's unfortunate is, water contaminated by these beauty products such as soap, shampoo and others makes its way into the natural environment, causing tremendous amounts of pollution. Microparticles, small they might be lead to water being affected and there's not much awareness behind this . Every time we are having a walk at a beach or jumping into an ocean for a hearty swim, we might find ourselves come in close contact with such microparticles that will have a harmful impact on our health. Even the SPF that we wear whenever we step out in the sun or hit the beach, to protect us from UV radiation contains toxins that protect human skin from harmful sun rays. But those harmful chemicals in the sunscreen can be hazardous for aquatic life. A few potent chemicals that are a part of cosmetics are oxybenzone, nanostructural zinc oxide, octinoxate, octocrylene and the list goes on!

Whatever we apply on our skin, gets mixed up with water and creates pollutants. Basic chemicals used in beauty products such as parabens, were said to be harmless too, but the reality is totally different now! And this component is so widely used in beauty products, it's impossible to tell because brands are also greenwashing these days. The other one being triclosan, used widely in the production of hand soaps and shampoos, only for it to turn out dangerous for humans and the environment both. There’s actually more to it. Peels and scrubs have abrasive granules which are at times made using plasticizers, these microplastics end up in rivers and oceans.

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Our precious resources are being depleted. As consumers, we can always make sure whatever we’re buying isn’t harmful to the environment. By purchasing products from sustainable friendly brands, properly recycling the packages sent and dusting away single use items time is all it takes to bring us one step closer to water conservation. Since the products with plastic packaging are also one of the main factors contributing to water pollution, it’s best if we shop for products that are plastic-free when it comes to packaging. Sustainable brands ensure that their products are made with zero toxins. Sustainable brands take environment into consideration, go with natural and clean ingredients, recyclable packaging and many other elements that make them worth keeping in your stash. If there are no chemicals or toxic ingredients present in your product, there’s no way it will end up contaminating the water, on the other hand, if there are products that have zero plastic packasging and are packed up in recyclable material, there’s no chance of them harming aquatic life.

Sublime Life has a clear concept of sustainability. We take the issues of environmental and social causes very seriously. With great care and thought taken after our products, we ensure the packaging is done with 100% recyclable material. Starting from skincare to makeup, everything is vegan, cruelty free, contains clean and chemical free ingredients. We even make sure that it’s packed with material that can be reused, starting from tapes to the boxes, and that’s how we make sure that whatever we’re producing, isn’t harming anyone out there.

Know more about the relationship between water and cosmetic industry on our super insightful podcast, 'A Sublime Life'. 

- Aparna Das

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