What To Look For On Your Shampoo Label? Phthalate Free and Sulfate Free!

Eco-Savy recently wrote about the importance of sulfate-free shampoo’s, but have you ever heard about “phthalates” in your shampoo products? More often than not, they are there, and are often partially responsible for that that lovely “orchid must” or “citrus zing” smell that has lured you into buying the particular brand in the first place. Unfortunately, chances are, you have been taking in a dose of these hormone-disrupting phthalates with every squirt,smear or slather, whether the scent aggravates your senses or not.

Phthalates are not just found in shampoo products, they are found in personal care products, makeup, fragrances and toys. Indeed they are hard to find on labels and often hidden behind the word “fragrance”. However, you can and should look for the phrase “phthalate free“.

Dibutyl phthalate (DBT) and diethylhexyl pthalate (DEHP) are two of the phthalates that have been banned from toys but are still found in cosmetics here in Canada. However, back in 2007, 72% of the deodorants, perfumes, hairsprays /mousses/gels and lotions tested in a report called “Not Too Pretty” by Health Care Without Harm and Environmental Working Group contained at least one phthalate.

Fortunately, consumers are growing wiser and becoming more self-educated in navigating themselves through the marketplace and reading labels (hopefully Eco-Savy has been helping you in this journey too!). As a result, corporations are getting the message.   A great example of a popular brand that is making it’s shampoo, conditioner and body lotion toxin-free is Crabtreee & Evelyn (refer to image below). A few years ago we would never have recommended their products to you because of the amount of parabens, sodium-lauryl sulfate (SLS) and pthalates in them. However, this new line of products by them says RIGHT ON THE LABEL that there are NO phthalates, sulfates or parabens in this particular shampoo product. We were so excited about this, we just had to share it with you. Note however to still read the label on their products to ensure they have not just done this for this one shampoo/conditioner/body lotion line.

  sulfate free shampoo

Consumers Demanding Eco-Products Globally

Countries Around The World Willing To Pay Extra For Eco-Products – UK Amongst Top!

A recent survey by Nielsen, asked more than 29,000 internet respondents in 58 countries about eco-products and their buying behaviour. Overall, it showed that one in four UK consumers are choosing more environmentally-friendly products despite their higher prices. Also, 3 in 5 consumers in Singapore wait for new products to undergo testing/approval (i.e. to know they are safe/eco-friendly) before purchasing them. Organic-labels.jpg

The UK trend reflects a global surge in interest in environmentally friendly products with the proportion of consumers prepared to pay more to protect the natural world more than doubling to 46% last autumn from 22% in spring 2011, according to Nielsen.

Asia-pacific consumers (55%) are the most likely to buy eco-friendly products regardless of price, followed by their counterparts in Middle East/Africa (51%), Latin America (46%), Europe (37%) and, finally, North America (30%). The global average is 46%.

Indian and Vietnamese consumers are the most likely (both 71%) to choose more eco-friendly options, despite the extra cost, followed by Turkey (68%).

Some 60% of Russians say they let environmental concerns determine which products they buy, putting them amongst the most likely Europeans to do so. This is around twice as many as in other key European economies such as Italy (34%), Sweden (32%), Germany (28%), France (25%) and Spain (23%).

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New Plastic Inspired By Ocean Waste

Plastic, plastic, plastic, what are we going to do with you?!

plastic vortex- eco-savy.comWell, I am sure we have all heard by now that there is a region in the Pacific Ocean where there is a plastic agglomeration twice the size of the state of Texas (aka where the currents collide). As sad as this is, some companies have found inspiration from it! For example, “ocean fresh”, “blue ocean coral” and “sea breeze” are all scents used by recent home care launches. I know, I know, these are just SCENTS, but it is a start!

ocean plastic pic

Eco-Savy is rooting for “Methods” new hand wash and dishwashing soap that is made from recovered ocean plastic. Specifically, they have launched a 2-in-1 dishwashing liquid and hand wash, with plastic packaging made partly from post-consumer recycled plastic found along the ocean shores. The material was developed in partnership with recycle HDPE supplier Envision Plastic.


Where Is This Ocean Plastic Collected?

Surprisingly, the “ocean plastic” is hand collected by Method employees and volunteers from beaches across Hawaii. However, the problem they face is the quantity of plastic…it just isn’t enough! After all, most of the plastic is IN the ocean, rather than on the shorelines. Thus, Method had to resort to combining this “ocean plastic” with post-consumer recycled waste to create a “grey-coloured” bottle. Eco-Savy is extremely impressed by Method’s efforts.

Are There Other Companies Using “Ocean Plastic” In Their Products?

Ecover, the Belium based manufacturer of environmentally friendly cleaning products, is also looking to the sea as a potential material source. Working with plastics manufacturer Logoplaste, its plastic will be collected directly from the sea using special equipment that can be fitted to fishing boats. This is a step in the right direction!

What is Methods Long Term Goal?

Method was clear that their initiative is not to clean up the world’s oceans, but to raise awareness about the issue and to demonstrate novel ways to reuse waste plastic, which is still something! Indeed, the focus in not providing a solution to sea based plastic waste, but rather highlighting the issue of plastic waste in the sea to consumers and the wider public.

Where Can I Buy Method’s “Ocean Plastic”?

Method soap products are sold at Nature’s Emporium in Newmarket Ontario – Canada (great, great store!) and Whole Foods Market. Also, you can purchase the soap and detergent online at methodhome.com.

Plastic waste is a major problem in our world. Many people don’t even think twice when they toss their Starbucks (or Tim Horton’s) cup in the garbage…after all, that lid could have been recycled. So just try and pay a little more attention to the products you bring into your home and how you are disposing them 🙂

Starbucks Talks Sustainability

When you go to Starbucks, do you recycle the lid or cup? I didn’t think so.

Despite a somewhat unmatchable brand loyalty in the coffee space, Starbucks still takes heat due to the potential negative environmental impact of its disposable cups.

Starbucks is now rising up and taking action to become more sustainable. Recently, they rolled out plastic cups for cold beverages that are produced with polypropylene cups and lids, and launching new lightweight plastic cups to reduce resin consumption. In addition, Starbucks has a goal of making 100% of its cups reusable or recyclable by 2015.

In an attempt to find a solution to this recycling issue, Starbucks has launched an in-store recycling program at selected stores.While the program has hit some hiccups along the way, the company said it is committed to eventually offering in-store recycling on a wide scale.

Currently, Starbucks is working with ConAgra Foods to make their coffee cups recyclable. What is preventing this from happening is the non-recylcable polymer adhered onto the inside of their cups to prevent leak.

Conagra Foods are different in that they use post-industrial recycled polylactic acid and convert it into shrink film packaging materials (i.e. the inside lining of Starbucks coffee cups). The company’s PLA shrink film contains more than 50% post-industrial recycled material, and it uses this material for tamper-evident seals on some of ConAgra Foods’ table spreads. However, the CEO of Conagra Foods still recognizes the limitation of PLA based bio-plastics and their researchers are working hard to make sure no plastic/contamination occurs within the cups with PLA shrink film adhered to them (i.e. increased thermal stability). Below is a quote that expresses the CEO’s concerns more thoroughly…

“We know there are challenges with PLA and how it can impact the bottle-to-bottle recycling strategy,” she said. “But we have strict restrictions on PLA and we make sure it doesn’t stay with the package because we don’t want potential contamination.”

By collaborating with its suppliers, Conagra has been able to convert 260,000 pounds of resin from non-renewable resources (PVC and PET g) to PLA (plastic derived from starch). It will be exciting to learn more about what Conagra can do for food companies to reduce their environmental waste and make their materials more sustainable.