So if these plastics are so hard to replace, what’s the answer?
First things first, if you want to advocate for plastic-free products then there may be some compromise when it comes to texture and sensorial experience—it won’t necessarily be worse, but it will be different. Here’s how Koestline puts it:
“It’s like when you switch away from plastic bags and go for cloth bags. Yes, people are not going to love the fact that they have to wash them every now and then and remember to take them out of the car, but you get used to it because you understand the repercussions of using plastic bags,” she says.
So, yes, your moisturizer may not be perfectly white, and your hair gel may not stick like super glue, but it’s all something you can get used to for the sake of the environment. What’s more, you may not always have to, because exciting new advancements are in the works.
For example, Altman has been working with biotech silk materials with his company Evolve by Nature—more specifically an innovative ingredient called Activated Silk 33B—as one promising replacement for liquid plastics. The ingredient is the individual silk protein (a monomer), which can be used in topical formulations to bind together emulsions, just like the plastic polymers—but with added skin benefits and without the environmental issues that come with it.
Modern Meadow uses a fermented bio-based protein that can support the skin barrier and improve collagen production—without the use of petrochemical inputs, animal-derived materials, or chemical processes.