Cosmetics Plastic Recycling, Europe And The United States, South Korea In Action!

- Jan 24, 2019-

South Korea's environment ministry and 19 South Korean companies have signed an "agreement on spontaneous recycling and use of simple packaging" in Seoul to promote resource recycling and reduce environmental pollution caused by packaging materials. Light weight, excellent processability, moisture resistance and corrosion resistance, plastics are used as raw materials to make all kinds of products and become an indispensable part of daily life.

At present, plastics have been widely used as additives and packaging materials in many kinds of cosmetics. It can be said that consumers can not buy no plastic makeup products. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the plastic Soup Foundation (Plastic Soup Foundation), at least 67 different types of microplastics are used in cosmetics produced by large multinational companies. The UNEP report shows that plastic particles and other plastic ingredients are present in different percentages in different products, and in some cases the percentages range from less than 1 percent to more than 90 percent. For example, a typical exfoliating bath lotion contains as many plastic particles as the plastic used to make its plastic packaging. However, the growing use of plastics in recycling is still a big problem for many people.

Attention to the problem of Microplastics caused by Cosmetics

Maria Westerbos, director of the plastic Soup Foundation, says many of the cosmetics people use daily contain microplastics. Because these microplastics cannot be filtered from existing filtration systems, they unknowingly participate in the environmental cycle and become one of the growing "plastic soup" members. Among them, face washing, scrub paste and other cleaning cosmetics contain plastic particles in the use of direct flow into the sewer. In addition, foam sponges contain polyurethane and melamine, which scrape during washing, and their debris enters the drains and ends up in the ocean through a water cycle. Although there are no reports of direct effects of microplastics on the human body, the amount of microplastics floating in the ocean is expected to increase tenfold in 20 years, said Professor Takata, a professor at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology who studies marine pollution. Given that the amount of microplastics consumed by marine fish is 10 times higher than it is now, the impact on humans should be of concern. Members of the UK Environmental Audit Board say only about 86 tons of plastic is distributed annually in the UK from facial exfoliants. Mary Creagh, chairman of the British Environmental Audit Board, agreed that contamination of plastic beads in scrub, body soap and toothpaste could be avoided.

Multinational measures to phase out the use of plastic particulates because these microplastics are made from oil-based raw materials and have the properties of being prone to the adsorption of harmful chemicals, such as pesticides and industrial oils, in the course of ocean drift, After ingested by marine organisms, it accumulates in marine organisms, which endangers the safety of marine life. These plastic accumulations may also enter the body through the food chain, causing health risks. In response, the European Cosmetics Association led the response in October 2015, suggesting that cosmetics manufacturers phase out the use of plastic particles in their products by 2020. According to Chris Flower, president of the Cosmetics and Perfume Association, most companies have completed the elimination of plastic particles, with total usage down by 70 percent, while the rest is expected to be completed by the end of 2018, two years ahead of the deadline set by the European Cosmetics Association.

In addition, other countries have introduced regulations to further reduce the addition of plastic particles in daily chemical products until a total ban on the production and sale of plastic particulate products. Among them, the Swedish government plans to ban the sale of bleached cosmetics containing plastic particles in July 2018 to reduce marine plastic waste. The ban came into effect on July 1, 2018. Products already in store stock before the ban comes into effect can be sold before January 1, 2019. The U.S. government also announced a ban on the production of personal care products and cosmetics containing plastic particles from July 2017, and a total ban on sales on July 1, 2018. Canada also announced a ban on the sale of cosmetics containing plastic particles on July 1, 2018.

In addition to the microplastics added in cosmetics, the recycling of cosmetics plastic packaging has also become a matter of great concern in South Korea for promoting the use of colorless plastic cosmetics packaging bottles. In May, South Korea's Environment Ministry and 19 South Korean companies signed a "spontaneous recycling and use of simple packaging agreement" in Seoul to promote recycling of resources and reduce environmental pollution caused by packaging materials. The agreement came into effect in June 2018 until the target was met. The agreement was signed by companies including cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, dairy and beverage makers, Korean cosmetics company Emory Pacific, LG Life and Health, and Love Kings. Under the agreement, the companies will spontaneously recycle plastic packaging materials, and are expected to recover about 260000 tons of plastic bottles, accounting for 55 percent of South Korean plastic bottle exports. According to the agreement, by 2019, these companies will improve packaging materials and structures according to different product categories, and will consciously use colorless and transparent plastic products to facilitate recycling in cosmetics packaging bottles, mineral water bottles and other products. Earlier, South Korea's Ministry of Environment developed the first phase of the Product Recycling Evaluation Plan (2018-2020). Under the plan, the use of colorless cosmetics plastic bottles and drinks plastic bottles is expected to start to increase significantly from 2019. The use of colorless plastic bottles such as cosmetics and beverages is expected to rise to 85.1 percent from 63.5 percent in 2016.

Lower cost and easier recovery

It is understood that the production of colorless transparent cosmetic plastic bottles are usually using PET plastic, this material is environmentally friendly and non-toxic, but the price is slightly higher than other materials. However, the color masterbatch is usually used to color the plastics, but the color masterbatch will also affect the properties of plastics and increase the cost of the products. However, because plastic bottles have the characteristics of long cycle and low added value in the use of cosmetics, the empty bottles of cosmetics also tend to mix with domestic waste, which leads to the difficulty of sorting and recycling. As a result, cosmetic packaging recycling also has a long way to go.