- Carbon neutral
- Readily biodegradable synthetic ingredients
- Any palm oil derivatives are RSPO certified
- Packaging is not easily recyclable
- Contains ethoxylated alcohol
- Incomplete data for some natural extracts
Sukin is an Australian brand that lists environmental sustainability as one of its key values, so it’s not too surprising that this product is good. The company intentionally keeps packaging to a minimum to reduce waste, and offsets its carbon emissions from both manufacture and office operations.
UPDATE: Sukin was previously certified as carbon neutral through the NoCO2 certification program. In August 2018, the Carbon Reduction Institute – which operates the NoCO2 program – released a statement on the certification of Sukin. The statement says that the Sukin certification lapsed on 30 June 2018, and that Sukin had failed to provide data to validate their claims since late 2017. As at September 2018, the carbon neutral claims made by Sukin do not appear to be verified by a third party.
The active ingredients in body scrubs are just granules of things like salt, sugar and ground up nut shells – packaged up in a liquid and shipped to you. If you are wanting to reduce the environmental impact of your personal care products, this could be a product category to avoid altogether. You could reduce transport emissions and packaging by using some salt and sugar from your pantry. The rating for this product is for its environmental impact compared to other body scrub products – find out more here.
The main ingredient in their Purifying Body Scrub product is water. This suggests that this product could be more concentrated. Providing a more concentrated product reduces packaging requirements and transport emissions.
The majority of the other ingredients are plant extracts. Natural doesn’t always mean better, and unfortunately for some of these ingredients I could not find study results to confirm that they have low aquatic toxicity and are readily biodegradable. However, as natural extracts, the chance of them being chemicals of highest concern is low.
This product also contains some fatty alcohols. These can come from natural or synthetic sources. One natural source of fatty alcohols is palm oil. The Sukin Facebook page says that some of their ingredients are derived from palm oil, but all sources of palm oil are certified by the RSPO. Vegetable oils can be easily swapped for one another, so supporting certified sources of palm oil over other uncertified sources can be the way to go.
The scrub contains ceteareth-20, which is an ethoxylated alcohol. Ethoxylated alcohols are synthetic ingredients that are toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates. Linear ethoxylated alcohols, like ceteareth-20, are generally readily biodegradable. Because of this, a large proportion of this ingredient should be removed during wastewater treatment before fish and aquatic invertebrates are exposed to it. However, some of it may not be and it could be released to the environment.
This biggest downfall for this product is the packaging, which is a plastic tube. Unfortunately, this type of plastic is not always easy to recycle. However, it can be recycled in some kerbside recycling schemes, or through Terracycle.
But does it work?
Considering how well a product works is a big factor in determining whether a product is a good one or not. A product that does not work is a waste.
Image credit: The Gluten Free Greek