Axiology is now 100% Plastic-Free, as of April 2022. We're leaving this post up to show our brand evolution (we're proud of all the changes we've made), and because there's still some excellent info here about plastic.
Axiology lipstick tubes started 2020 off right with a new year makeover. Now made with 50% post-consumer recycled plastic, our tubes use plastic that is already on the planet — neutralizing an environmental threat through reuse, one tube at a time.
What makes post-consumer recycled plastic so great?
Plastics have created a huge ecological and environmental problem. Scientists have estimated that 8 million metric tons (the weight of 90 aircraft carriers) entered the world's oceans in 2010 alone. To compound this problem, plastic takes 400 years at minimum to degrade, releasing hazardous chemicals as it does so, and breaking off into tiny pieces called microplastics that are now ubiquitous in our food and water. In short, our plastic habit has damaged our land, water, air, and wildlife.
Now, imagine if there was a way to repurpose some of that nasty plastic to keep it out of landfills for longer. That’s what post-consumer recycled plastic is!
Introducing PCR Plastic Tubes
"We finally created a lipstick tube made out of recycled stuff and it truly took years! We've been searching for a more sustainable tube since the company began. Thank you to our customers who truly care about the planet and have been emailing us daily asking for a better alternative to the standard lipstick tube, you guys really pushed us. We're super excited!" says Ericka Rodriguez, founder of Axiology.
A more environmentally sustainable solution, post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic reuses materials that would otherwise end up as waste in our landfills, oceans, and streets. To put the dire need for PCR versus virgin plastics into perspective — of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic that have been produced (ever), 6.3 billion metric tons have become waste. By 2050, an expected 12 billion metric tons of plastic will be in our landfills (that’s 35,000 times as heavy as the Empire State Building).
With so much plastic already produced and even more being made each and every day, there's an enormous opportunity for repurposing and reuse we can leverage. By using what we already struggle to get rid of, we can significantly reduce our carbon footprint.
Unlike the process of producing plastic from virgin materials, repurposing plastic is extremely energy efficient and does not use fossil fuels as raw materials. In fact, recycled plastics produce 25-30% less greenhouse and carbon gas emissions than their virgin counterparts.
How do our PCR plastic tubes compare to our previous ones?
Our old tubes were made from virgin aluminum, which is one of the easiest materials to recycle. 75 percent of all aluminum that has ever been produced is still in use to this day. And recycling aluminum uses 95 percent less electricity than virgin aluminum. These stats are huge when compared to plastic! (Only 9 percent of all plastics ever made have been recycled.)
But in recent years, the demand for aluminum has been reshaping the supply chain. More long-lasting products, like cars, are being made with aluminum, resulting in less recycling. And more disposables, like ketchup packets and coffee pods, are being mixed with plastic, making them significantly more expensive and difficult to recycle. We ran into this issue with our previous tubes. Not very many recycling centers are willing to take mixed recyclables (aluminum + plastic), and those that are tend to be extremely expensive. Like plastic, we’re starting to see a lot of recyclable aluminum end up in our dumps.
If aluminum products aren’t being recycled, it’s no longer a very sustainable or eco-friendly solution, especially because virgin production of aluminum is quite destructive. It involves an open-pit mining process that leads to deforestation and can result in toxic red mud lakes that can overflow into nearby water sources.
While we’re definitely proud of the recyclability potential of our aluminum tubes, our PCR tubes take us one step closer to our ultimate zero-waste goal. Because even though recycled aluminum may solve one problem — less new plastic — it doesn’t address the environmental impact of all the existing plastic.
Our previous lipstick tubes also had quite a large defect rate. The tubes were often faulty due to the push-pull (click-in) mechanism. Because of this, we had a lot of defective tubes that ended up creating even more waste than necessary.
The current state of recycling
While plastic waste has always been a burden to the environment, it’s become an even bigger problem for the US since China stopped accepting low-grade plastics for recycling. For decades we relied on shipping the bulk of our recyclables to the country. Since their restrictions went into place, the price to get rid of recycling in America skyrocketed. The financial burden, unfortunately, led many to choose the alternative — throw it all away.
Our dedication to sustainable packaging
A shocking 91% of plastic isn’t recycled at all. So while our nation might be happy that more than 97% of our packaging is recyclable, the hard truth is that much of it is ending up in the landfill, as waste. We realized this could often, unfortunately, be the case for our aluminum tubes. By using PCR plastics, we can at least be sure we’re not creating more waste.
Using post-consumer plastics makes sense! We’re passionate about our new post-consumer recycled packaging and are excited to continue on our journey to zero-waste. We know that we are not perfect, but our commitment to making steps toward environmental sustainability is fierce.