Plastic pollution is a real problem and in India, we produce 26,000 tonnes of it every single day! As a Beauty Writer, it's unfortunate that my profession also plays a huge role in adding to plastic waste. Shampoos, makeup, serums, moisturisers, cleansing balms, most of them come in hard plastic bodies. Some may argue that sheet masks don't fit into that category because they come in tiny pouches and not in hard plastic bottles. Little do they know that most sheet mask pouches contain a combination of aluminium and plastic. Small in size, but detrimental to the environment.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not against sheet masks, they hydrate the skin and make it soft, supple and smooth. However, I do think that could be packaged better. If you take a look at a single sheet mask packet - you're not holding just one product, but three! There's the pouch, the sheet mask inside it and that thin plastic film wrapped around the mask.
Sad but true -- apart from the face mask (if biodegradable) none of the other products can be composted or recycled. In fact, they add to the problem. Every sheet mask is a single-use product. You open the pouch, remove the plastic film, slap on the sheet mask and throw all three products into the bin after you're done. The garbage truck then collects the waste and dumps into a landfill. The problem doesn't end just there, those components of the sheet mask take hundreds of years to decompose. Hence it's high time that packaging gets a makeover.
Earlier, nylon and synthetic sheet masks took the beauty markets by storm. Some companies realised that those materials cannot be composted and for the sake of the environment, they started making sheet masks made from bamboo, cotton and jute. However, changing the fabric of the sheet mask won't solve the problem. What's in the mask is what matters and whether those ingredients are biodegradable or not.
A single sheet mask won't create a serious negative impact on the environment, however, but the bulk of them will. Eventually, these products end up in landfills & produce methane while they break down. Methane as a substance absorbs the sun's heat and warms up the atmosphere and that contributes to global warming in the long run.
Solving the problem is a two-way street. One from the consumers and second from the brand/manufacturers. As a consumer, one needs to do their research and as a brand, the need to be transparent on the packaging is important. No glossy words, fancy pictures or fine text - make the productive informative for the benefit of the environment and the consumer's peace of mind. If it's getting in between the design aesthetics of a product, mention a website link below so that an eco-conscious customer can do their research and build trust with the brand.
It's never too late to change our ways.
Invest in a biodegradable sheet mask that's made from plant fibre like this one. Enriched with mandarin and white truffle, this sheet mask is not only good for the skin, but safe for the environment as well. Not to mention, it's also free from all the nasty stuff like parabens, benzophenone and artificial colourants.
What can also be done is to find brands that sell sheet masks in packs and not individually. This will slowly reduce plastic waste. The sheet mask pack we've recommended does not contain just 1 sheet mask product, but 42!
You can also bring home normal cloth sheet masks and make your own serum using natural ingredients from your kitchen so that whatever goes on your skin is safe and good for you.
And finally, the more informed you are, the more conscious you become of your actions. Don't forget to think about this the next time you want to buy sheet masks!