Plastic has a negative impact on human health and the environment. This is no news to most of us. But as it permeates our daily lives, it’s easy to elaborate on why it has such a devastating effect.Everything from the bread we eat to the beauty products we use is plastic. It can feel impossible to remove plastic from our buying habits when it’s packaged in. Plastic is in every aisle of most grocery stores and big box stores. Even if you don’t see plastic bottles, they’re found in disposable hangers, synthetic fiber blends, ties and bags.
But can plastic be recycled? Why is minimizing our use of plastic so important to the future of ourselves and this planet? We discussed why we should switch to plastic-free beauty and personal products for as long as possible.
Olivia O’Bryon: First, why should we be concerned about plastics and microplastics in beauty products? Can PET bottles be recycled?
Superzero Founder Conny Wittke: The beauty industry is obsessed with plastic. It is said that 120 billion units of plastic packaging waste is generated every year. In the United States alone, approximately 7.9 billion units of hard plastic are manufactured for beauty and personal care products, and 552 million plastic shampoo bottles are sold each year. Many of its packaging are not recyclable as they consist of multi-layer/multi-component plastics that do not have a recycling stream.
Furthermore, 90% of our plastic is actually not recycled, even in the recyclable part. For the small portion that is recycled, the process requires significant amounts of water and energy, and offshoring plastic waste to emerging countries could lead to environmental injustice. As a result of this, most plastic ends up in landfills and oceans, slowly turning into microplastics as it breaks down, harming animals and polluting the food chain. , the unnecessary use of plastics has harmful effects. Since plastic is mostly made from fossil fuels, we know it has a negative impact on the climate.
A key question to ask is why is plastic so widely used in the beauty industry, for one thing, the battle over size impressions and shelf space. Consumers have been subliminally educated for decades that “bigger is better,” which is absolutely not true. In fact, I believe true performance-oriented luxury is actually minimal yet original. For an industry that promotes the belief that “beauty comes from the inside”, the beauty industry puts far more focus and resources on product appearance (expensive and excessive packaging) than on inner beauty (ingredients). are spending By focusing attention and resources on the beauty and integrity of the actual ingredients and minimizing what is used for vanity purposes only, Super Zero never compromises efficacy and experience. , working hard to flip this part of the script.
After all, it’s important to understand that plastic itself is not evil. In fact, in many cases (such as in the medical field) it was a very useful and indispensable genius invention. However, given the environmental and health impact of its use, I believe it should be avoided where it is not needed, especially in hair care. Knowing that it contains 90% water, you can see how wasteful and grotesque this problem is. Eliminating water waste also eliminates plastic waste, and with sustained rigor, know-how expertise and relentless attention to detail, we are left with a concentrated and powerful shampoo bar with superior benefits and performance. , the waste will be zero.
OO: Can you elaborate on why microplastics are a concern for human health in addition to global concerns?
CW: Microplastics are a concern for many reasons. First, there is the end of life of the plastic, where it degrades very slowly, turning into smaller and smaller pieces and finally forming microplastics. Then there’s the “shedding” of microplastics, where tiny pieces of plastic shed from linings, coatings, fabrics, etc. and enter the environment and our bodies. . Definitions on this vary widely, with a recent new political ban only targeting tiny plastic beads used in the beauty industry, such as exfoliating cleansers.
However, Super Zero follows the Plastic Soup Foundation’s stricter definition. For this definition, microplastics include all polymers that are persistent, bioaccumulative and/or toxic and are not readily biodegradable in all environmental sectors. This includes liquid and gel forms as well, including ingredients such as dimethicone, dimethicone copolymers, and polysilicone-15, which are very prevalent in hair and skin care products on the market today. The Foundation has released a report that 9 out of 10 personal care products contain such ingredients, with 7 kg of microplastics from cosmetics entering the environment every minute in the EU alone.
The environmental impact of the accumulation of microplastics is enormous and is found almost everywhere. The rapidly developing science of plastics and microplastics also poses serious health concerns. Many chemicals, not just his BPA used in plastics, have been shown to have hormone-disrupting effects and wreak havoc on health. Microplastics accumulate in the environment, are ingested by animals, and enter the body through inhalation from diet, personal care products, and the air they breathe. has also been found from These are all reasons why you should avoid plastic whenever possible, and avoid it at all costs in the beauty industry.
OO: So tell us about Super Zero. How did it start and what is the company’s mission?
CW: Superzero’s reason for being is to combine Amazing performance with zero Harm—it’s in the name! We aim to mitigate beauty’s enormous environmental footprint through the development of high-density, high-performance, high-touch, plastic-free and micro-plastic-free solid products. has been around for some time, but was not formulated to meet the needs of the intelligent and demanding beauty consumer. We’ve designed a line of shampoos, conditioners, treatments, hand and body balm bars to cover all your needs. It is therefore wrong to ask consumers to compromise between results and sustainability. Taking care of how your hair and body feels isn’t just about making others look good, it’s about being healthy and reassuring, and it can make a big difference to your confidence and how your skin feels. At Super Zero, we believe that no one should be asked to compromise product performance in order to make better choices for the planet.
At SuperZero, we aim to resolve this contradiction by using clinically proven active ingredients to create amazing products while embracing fully sustainable solutions. We designed the bar from the ground up and very carefully tuned the beauty chemistry of the bar to suit different hair needs. I found the right amount and type of foam which is very important to. Moreover, Superzero is constantly innovating to find new ways to promote authentic experiences and meet consumer demands. On October 20th, we launched our new Clarifying Shampoo Bar. It offers customers a deep cleansing treatment bar that starts at the roots (literally) by removing hard water, chlorine, environmental factors, and residue build-up from products on the scalp. Regularly removing such buildup rebalances the scalp biome, promoting more rapid hair growth and an overall improvement in hair health.
OO: Can you elaborate on what SuperZero is doing to eliminate both plastics and microplastics? What impact has it had so far?
CW: Superzero solids that eliminate plastics and microplastics have many sustainability benefits.
- First, eliminating water from the formulation means no need to use plastic in packaging. With one Super Zero Shampoo Bar replacing three 8.4 oz plastic bottles, our impact grows exponentially as more people switch.
- Another sustainability benefit is the elimination of water and plastic, which can reduce the bar’s weight and volume footprint by up to 90% compared to liquids. This means less carbon footprint and less energy usage for your product in transit. In fact, our full size anhydrous solids have 80-90% less carbon footprint than comparable liquids during manufacturing. Additionally, Shampoo, certified climate-neutral by Climate Partners, offsets the carbon footprint of his bar by supporting global wind projects and Haiti’s Plastic Bank. local population.
- Another key sustainability (and health) benefit of the bar is that it’s completely free of microplastics. Our bars are certified microplastic free. This means we ban all microplastics from our formulations.
- By making it anhydrous, we eliminate water from our formulations and significantly reduce water usage throughout our supply chain. Water is life and clean, accessible water is scarce. We never ship water in plastic bottles because most of us already have the privilege of running water in our bathrooms. It enhances beauty without wasting it, because the less we use, the more we get.
- Last but not least, as a member of 1% for the Planet, we support organizations that help reduce the amount of plastic and microplastics and provide clean water resources around the world.
OO: Besides what SuperZero is doing for the planet by using less plastic, what other benefits do beauty products offer both the planet and consumers?
CW: This is a great question. Because an earth-friendly product won’t get noticed unless it offers benefits that go far beyond. By paying attention to these aspects, we are taking care of our loyal customers and making positive changes. Our goal is not just to create solid alternatives, but to beat the bottle in results and experience.
The solid factor means that the active ingredients are concentrated, potent, and not “watered down.” We deliver a sensory, high-five, positive experience in the shower. Our bars are formulated with clinically proven active ingredients including peptides, botanical keratin, hemisqualane and plant-based squalane to deliver superior results. We also very carefully customize our bars to suit different hair needs and desires. Superzero’s products are carefully tuned experiences, not “one size fits all” solutions. Last but not least, the solids are very travel-friendly and won’t give you TSA hassles, liquid spills, or extra pounds while you’re on the go.