We create healthier chemistry between people, the things they love, and the planet. We also create this bi-weekly newsletter — curated with interesting and inspiring stories relevant to anyone interested in making our industries and our economies more bioharmonious.
With greater frequency and severity of climate-related hazards comes a higher chance of disruption to human lives and ecosystem services, which impacts the global supply chain. And although not directly linked to climate destruction, COVID-19 showed us a taste of this reality. Rethinking the supply chain has become a common mental exercise for many industries so dependent on the cultivation of natural resources and the treatment of artisans making our day-to-day materials. Yet, time seems to be testing us. Risks are piling up – the pandemic, economic downturn, hurricanes, heat – these events are straining the resources we typically use to cope and “build back better.” We, collectively, are all learning what it means to protect our earth. It requires intense self-reflection that not only benefits the planet but our ability to innovate for the greener solutions that will mitigate our ecological footprint.
Circularity is an increasingly popular life-cycle approach offering a way to refurbish the supply chain by rethinking materials for a systemic shift, some of which could be climate positive. Circular models aim to maximize the use of limited natural resources and reduce reliance on a linear waste economy. With any new concept, new challenges arise, from cost to communication. One challenge up for discussion is the safety and performance standards of circular materials. Yes, circularity and safety can be compatible. But just like any product being developed, testing, valuation of risk and benefits, and transparency must be considered. The re-questioning of circularity in application is beneficial to continual, sustainable growth. We need to continue asking questions, no matter how shiny the new technology is.
An ingredient label for hand sanitizer isn’t something that most consumers scrutinize, other than to possibly confirm the percentage of alcohol. And yet, given recent FDA recalls of products containing methanol and updates about formulas that may not be effective, it’s more important than ever for consumers to be informed about what they’re putting on their skin and washing down the drain. We are now using hand sanitizer at a frequency much higher than the original intended use. When checking ingredient labels, here’s what to look for:
Smell: An “off” scent can be caused by contaminants or denaturing agents. Additionally, we see many stories about “great smelling hand sanitizer. Yet, fragrances are often composed of petrochemicals which don't have to be disclosed or can be used to “mask” an “off” hand sanitizer scent.
Alcohol content less than 70%or “alcohol free” formulas: Alcohol content less than 70% means there may not be adequate “kill data.” Some manufacturers will reduce the alcohol content to 62% and use additives like BZK, an harmful alternative form of anti-microbial, to make up the difference in kill data.
Carbomers or any ingredient with the word “acrylate:” The production of these thickening agents is toxic to the earth, they are essentially “liquid plastic” and will not degrade in the environment.
Glycerin: If your hand sanitizer feels sticky on the skin, chances are it’s glycerin. Many manufacturers use this as an inexpensive thickening agent – however, it is known to lower the effective kill potential of ethanol, leading manufacturers to add more BZK to make up for this.