If It’s Not Plastic-free, It’s Not Cruelty-free
As you know by now, in 2020 Alpine Provisions went Plastic-free. This kicked off a big vision I’ve held for our company and the beauty industry in general. I am excited to announce that our sibling-brand, Pangea, just launched it's Plastic-free Bodycare in Autumn 2021 with plans to launch it's Plastic-free Skincare in early 2022.
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 and 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 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.
Before going Plastic-free I did a lot of research on the best plastic alternatives. We chose paperboard, which is renewable, recyclable, and biodegradable, and aluminum, lined with a BPA-free protective coating, which is infinitely, 100% recyclable.
Now let’s talk about the pumps… Many of our products such as Body.Hair.Shave, Hand Soap, and Conditioner 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. Here is our current (and best) solution, so far:
Customers option to purchase products with or without a pump. 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. Once the product is finished and you are ready for a new bottle, please use the same pump again. This not only reduces the needless proliferation of single-use plastics, it also saves you money!
Some tips for reusing your pumps:
- If you are transferring a pump from a particular product to the exact same one (scent included), just remove it from the old bottle and place it in the new one
- If the products have different scents, first rinse and dry the pump before transferring it
- If you need to store the pump between uses, rinse and dry it beforehand
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 is 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 Plastic-free, cruelty-free, 100% recyclable packaging.
- Joshua Scott Onysko
Founder & CEO, Alpine Provisions & Pangea Organics