If It’s Not Plastic free, It’s Not Cruelty free

- By: Joshua Onysko

Alpine Provisions has taken its packaging plastic-free! This is the beginning phase of a big vision I’ve held for our company ­­­— and the beauty industry in general — and I am excited to transition our entire family of brands to plastic-free as soon as possible. 

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 prevalent as doublespeak on a campaign trail.

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

Last April I published an article in Elephant Journal called The Blue Bin Lie about the inconvenient truth regarding plastic recycling.

To give you the CliffsNotes version, plastic cannot be recycled; it can only be downcycled.  And, of the 150 million tons of single use plastic that is produced each year, only 7% gets downcycled. That means approximately 139,500,000 tons of plastic go into our oceans and landfills.

Apart from our over-burdened, toxic landfills that poison surrounding groundwater, the presence of our discarded plastics in the oceans is unspeakably cruel to marine life. Here are a few reasons why:

- Floating plastic ends up in the bellies of whales and other filter feeders, resulting in their excruciatingly painful deaths

- Because plastic bags and plastic particles resemble jellyfish and algae, they are frequently consumed by sea turtles, which then ruptures the creatures’ internal organs or creates intestinal blockages causing starvation

- 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. Of course, this number will increase the more plastic we produce. 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.

I did a lot of research on the best plastic alternatives for Alpine Provision’s repackaging. We landed on these:

- Paperboard, which is renewable, recyclable and biodegradable

- Aluminum, lined with a BPA-free protective coating, which is 100% recyclable

Because our sister brand, Pangea, is more complex and extensive in its product offering, it will take additional time and resources to transition to plastic-free. Making this change is an expensive and complicated process, yet, I would say that most decisions involving the up leveling of one’s commitment to their core values comes with some inconvenience. To me, it’s 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, cruelty-free packaging.

 - Joshua Scott Onysko, Founder and CEO