We now live in a world where information is freely available in quantities much greater than we can possibly need. But information is not knowledge. Knowing facts isn’t much use without the knowledge of how to use them. A story I came across made this clear to me. A gentleman had bought a deodorant specifically because it had a big ‘alcohol free’ splash on the pack, and he reacts to alcohol. But in fact he still had very bad reaction to the product. When he looked at the ingredient list he noticed it contained benzyl alcohol. So, he concluded, the product was not alcohol free at all! Continue reading
I had imagined the UK’s much publicised microbead ban would be basically much like the legislation that is either already in force or well on the way around the world already. Despite all the recent evidence I still think of my fellow countryfolk as sensible pragmatists who don’t panic about things. So when I heard that UK parliament had brought in a ban on microbeads I wasn’t too bothered. Such a ban is already in force in a few countries and no doubt EU legislation will be along later. In any case everyone in the business knows the score and has already got rid of them or is well on the way to doing so. I’d assumed this was just a bit of window dressing by the government to be seen to be doing something to help the oceans given how popular the Blue Planet television series is proving to be. So I didn’t trouble to look up the details. I’d guessed it would be a ban on very small polythene beads and we’d have to switch to natural or biodegradable options, which is pretty much what we are already doing anyway. Continue reading
Should food ingredients be used in cosmetics when the planet is already straining to feed nearly 8 billion people? This was the question posed by The Beauty Botanist, aka Jennifer Hirsch at a joint meeting of the Society of Cosmetic Sceintists and the Brisish Society of Perfumers last night. Continue reading
Some things I write about seem quite important to me but somehow don’t really resonate with the people who read my blog. For example I wrote a post on palm oil which explained how the palm oil business works. Nobody read it. But I still think it matters so here we go again. Basically palm is grown on plantations and then processed to produce palm oil. This all goes into a big system from where it is moved around to produce a bewildering number of products. Continue reading
Christmas 2016 is over, and like a lot of people for me the next item on the agenda is getting rid of all the rubbish. I am particularly aware of it this year having read an article in the Biologist over the holiday by freelance naturalist Rajith Dissanayake. Despite the popularity of naturalness and general greenery we still produce one heck of a lot of plastic. I can certainly vouch for that as I have tried to squeeze of lot of it into my bin. Rajith quotes the figure that the average American produces around 2.5Kg of plastic waste per day, and us Europeans can’t be far behind.
There are dozens of organic certification schemes. The way most of the big ones work is that they certify a particular supplier and also have a schedule of the actual products covered by that certification.
So you’d have them come and certify your company and typically a certificate saying so. There would also be a list of all the things that you supply that the certificate covers. This is usually a separate document – it is likely to be changed from time to time. There is nothing stopping you from supplying other things so long as you don’t claim them to be organic.If you want to check that a given ingredient is organic you’d need to look at both the certification of the supplier and the individual ingredients listing. The supplier might well put references to the certification on their own documents, but it is rare for the certification body to issue certificates for individual materials. Continue reading
I give green personal care products a pretty rough time on this blog. I don’t have any problem doing this as a public service because so many of them basically aren’t very good. But it does run the risk that I appear to be anti-green in general. Nothing could be further from the truth, and I thought it might be a good idea to lay out what I think the problems facing the planet are and how seriously I take them. This doesn’t strictly have anything to do with coverage of the health and beauty issues I normally cover, but it is always sort of there in the background. And anyway, this my blog so it’s my rules. Continue reading
Big corporations are run for profits and are not too scrupulous about how they seek them. We have seen tobacco companies ignore the health of smokers. Big chemical companies have pushed lead into petrol. Mining companies leave the public to foot the bill for clearing up the mess their operations create. The list goes on. Cosmetic companies are no different ethically from any other type of corporation. As it happens there are almost no serious health effects arising from the cosmetic business. But this is not because their standards are higher – it is simply a fact that cosmetics are pretty safe. If that gives those of us involved in selling them any kind of moral high ground, well we throw it away pretty quickly by the outrageous claims we make for them. It is very hard to do anybody any harm via the skin – but it is equally hard to do much good either. Continue reading
I am indebted to my friend the LA Hobo (@thelahobo on Twitter) for drawing my attention to a recent action by the FDA ordering the recall of organic almonds on sale in Whole Foods stores in the United States. Continue reading
As a keen environmentalist I often find myself face palming when a cosmetic company picks up on a green issue. They often home in on things that aren’t particularly relevant and propose solutions that are questionable. But I think the recent interest in the risks posed by microbeads is one where there is a real problem. Continue reading