Refinery29 – November 12, 2016
by Fawnia Soo Hoo
Don’t let the unseasonal heat wave fool you — winter is, eventually, coming. That means it’s time to stock up on those hydrating and repairing products. One of the most effective ones out there? Sheet masks. But as we drench our faces in donkey milk or snail goop, we can forget one glaring issue: all the leftover waste. After a week of regular treatments, your garbage can can might look like Hannibal Lecter and Jason Voorhees went on a bender — full of crumpled eyeless and mouthless masks along with heaps of plastic packaging, which will all end up in a landfill.
According to the EPA, Americans throw out, on average, 254 million tons of “municipal solid waste.” 30% of that is containers and packaging. On top of that, we have a “stagnant” 35% recycling rate — pretty much the worst compared to other industrialized nations — with a paltry 3% of that being plastic.
Another alternative? “If I was using a 100% organic mask and I had a backyard [composting] system, I would probably be okay throwing it in my pile and seeing what happens,” says Brenda Platt, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and head of the Composting Makes $en$e and Composting for Community projects. While you’re at it, try natural sea kelp and flower and aloe vera hydrogel masks, too.