What Your Shampoo Is Telling You: why Use Me does not use recycled plastic for our bottles.

I want to start off by saying that recycling is very important. This article is not meant to dissuade you from recycling, which at this point in time is a necessity, but rather to explain our position and enlighten our readers.

One of the latest eco-friendly practices is to use recycled plastic for your containers, and the higher the percentage, the better. We agree that there is entirely too much plastic in circulation and that, when safe, applicable and manufactured properly, recycled plastic is a necessity. But there is a much better alternative, STOP PRODUCING PLASTIC. Of course this is out of the question, but the real answer to curb our addiction to plastic is to stop producing so much.

I’m going to go on a little numerical tangent to help illuminate my point. Lets say the average American washes their hair once a day with shampoo. If the amount used is roughly two teaspoons, that means you are using about 0.5 oz. of shampoo per wash. Under these conditions, a 12oz shampoo bottle will last you 24 washes, which at 1 wash per day, is 24 days. This means that the average person uses 15-16 bottles of shampoo (not including conditioner, styling product, or body wash/lotion) per year. That may seem like a small amount, but if you multiply that by the amount of people in the US, which according to the government census bureau is roughly 313 million, you find that we use about 4.695 billion shampoo bottles a year (enough bottles to wrap around the Earth almost 24 times!!!). Recycling one plastic bottle takes about .0015 KilowattHours. So to recycle all those bottles, you are using 7,042,500 KWh of energy. A gallon of crude oil can produce 40 kWh of heat and a large power plant is about 42% efficient, which indicates that one gallon of crude oil can produce about 17 kWh. So, to recycle just the shampoo bottles used in the US would take about 414,265 gallons of oil. 3.15 barrels of crude oil produce about 1 tonne of CO2, so from recycling alone 131,512 tons of CO2 is produced yearly. Not so good right?

As the video shows (granted with a couple minor grammatical errors), recycling plastic is not as good as it seems. Of course this does not mean that simply throwing empty bottles in the trash is the way to go, but what I want you to understand is that recycling is a part of the solution, not the answer itself. The most important piece of the equation is to curb our use of plastics. This is why Use Me developed the Filling Station. By incorporating the Filling Station into retailing our products, we have been able change the amount of shampoo bottles you will use per year from 15, to 1. In fact, if all goes to plan you will only need one bottle for the rest of your life. This would scare other brands, because only selling one bottle means less money for them. But, we are not in this for the money. We at Use Me want to change ourselves, our communities, our country, and then the world, and this is a major first step.

Now, while i think that was a pretty good place to leave it, you may be wondering why we do not use recycled plastic to make the one bottle. The answer is that we have not yet found a recycled plastic that meets our personal health requirements. It can be very difficult to track what types of plastic are in the recycled plastic, and this means that they may not be BPA-free. We hold ourselves to the highest of standards and want to make sure our products are the safest that they possibly be. At this moment in time, that means not taking the risk with recycled plastic.

References and Continued Reading

http://www.green-talk.com/2009/07/24/are-recycled-plastic-bottles-products-really-eco-friendly/

http://environment.about.com/od/greenlivingdesign/a/bottled_water.htm

http://numero57.net/2008/03/20/carbon-dioxide-emissions-per-barrel-of-crude/

http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html

Refill, Reuse, Repeat

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