Waste Cosmetics – Insights and Statistics

The global cosmetic products market is estimated to be valued at US$ 69 billion in the year 2025, growing at a CAGR of 5.2% in the period 2019 to 2025. The average adult uses nine personal care products every day, according to the Environmental Working Group, an American organization researching and advocating around toxic chemicals, amounting to 126 unique chemical ingredients. Women waste an average of 5,846 beauty products in their lifetimes, amounting to £180,000, and use just 10 percent (649) of the beauty items they buy, according to the research by Vaseline. The research reveals that 77 percent of women use less than 10 items regularly, despite buying up to 100 in a year.

Just imagine the impact that we are creating on the environment by our seemingly small, negligible actions. All this toxic waste from the improper disposal of cosmetics end up at the landfill’s soil, after polluting the land and killing beneficial microbes, seeps in to pollute underground water, then makes its way to any nearby water reserves, if entered in a river or canal, the seawater becomes its destination, making the beautiful marine life its prey. The story doesn’t end here, if that polluted water evaporates, those clouds will pour toxic raindrops, destroying vast areas of farms and cities too.

Artientifique is a mission with UNSDGs as its framework, to save Earth from marine biodiversity degradation. It aims to engage school and college students to volunteer and prevent the wrong disposal of cosmetics by collecting the waste stock donated from their circles. I go and take it for further segregation, processing, and converting makeup products into environment-friendly, high quality, exclusive paintings for art lovers. This initiative invites everyone to achieve sustainability together, whether as an art collector who buys these artworks and helps us save our planet, galleries, and curators who showcase these paintings, promoters who share the story to spread awareness, volunteers who give time and efforts, individuals or small cosmetics dealers who support us, take action as an aware & responsible citizen and donate their old cosmetics instead of throwing it away, even me as an artist who generates value out of the so-called Waste for giving Earth a new makeover!

According to surveys done, there isn’t much awareness about the harm caused to the environment by the wrong disposal of expired cosmetics. A famous cosmetics brand launched an initiative where customers can return their old products. But there wasn’t a way to transform the cosmetic waste into other useful forms. One of my goals in the lockdown period was to train other artists in makeup painting and bring them on-board, this would increase engagements and provide versatility in art genres for art lovers, and opportunities for young and aspiring artists. We started working together to create unique artworks by beauty products, giving that waste a new identity. I am so happy to see many females across the Middle East learning new techniques, getting inspiration, and found a creative activity, discovering the artist in themselves. If we are able to save even one creature from being affected by waste cosmetics, this would be a great achievement!

In my Experimental makeup-art studio, I segregate the products based on their nature, color, and texture, work on converting the sticky, broken, melting material into paint medium, by innovative steps, (*Note: I don’t mix water, oil, or any other chemicals or other types of paints to create my paint material) and create unique shades and rare textures to make environment-friendly paintings. “Waste” cosmetics aren’t realized to have harmful effects directly or indirectly on all biotic and abiotic resources. The stock may have germs and other microorganisms, so the art lab is well equipped with the required materials and I take all safety measures to ensure a safe painting process for me as the artist.

In general, every creature on Earth is harmed due to wrong cosmetic disposal. The reason is: the biochemical reactions with other types of waste in landfills that emit harmful gases are a threat to animals, the chemicals also seep into the soil, kill beneficial microbes, pollute underground water, nearby water reserves, and seas, which poses a threat to fishes, water creatures, microorganisms, beautiful marine life. There are big chances of cooked fish served on the table which might have consumed these chemicals.

As the problem has global effects, it is a huge concern for all. It is about the healthy future of our generations.

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