Don’t get us wrong, we totally get you. We at Scout are big fans of sheet masks. Aside from them being relatively affordable for a momentary sense of pleasure and relaxation, each sheet mask is uniquely designed to address particular skin issues. They can hydrate the skin, reduce dark spots, and help achieve an overall glow. And hey, isn’t sheet masking the most amusing skincare step ever?
However, what we don’t realize about these masks is their negative contribution to the environment. Take a look at your garbage can and see how it is filled with “crumpled eyeless and mouthless masks” together with tons of packaging in plastic, one of the deadliest pollutants, according to National Geographic. Yup, that face mask and its packaging are going to end up in the landfill like how the sad cycle plays. What a sad news after learning that tote bags are harmful for Mother Earth as well.
According to a recent report by HuffPost, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found out that 77.9 million tons of packaging waste was generated in 2015 alone. This includes those of our skin saviors. Well, what does a sheet mask have that can potentially shorten the planet’s lifespan?
As single-use items, our sheet masks are straight-to-the-dumpster kind of stuff. The same HuffPost article also suggests that they leave behind traces of aluminum and plastic. As Senior Resource Specialist of Natural Resources Defense Council Darby Hoover tells HuffPost, these “cannot be recycled in typical municipal recycling systems.” This, along with shampoo sachets, plastic straws, plastic bags, and even our trusty wet wipes (that also produce microcospic fragments of plastic) will stay on Earth for probably longer than we will do.
Well, we can still bust a move. Quite a reach, but if we don’t have the guts to let these sheet masks go, we can try to find face masks that use biodegradable, recyclable, and organic materials, which can go to the compost bin after use. It is also wiser to buy sheet masks that are packaged and sold in bulk. Less individual wraps, more ecological footprint.
Sheet masks work because they are soaked in serums and essences. And you don’t really need the mask itself. If you are willing to skip the fun part of putting it on your face, you can just slap some serum, essence, or sleeping mask on your face. Those products will nourish your skin just like, or even better than, sheet masks.
We deserve nice things, and the world does, too. A little tweak in our lifestyle won’t hurt, right?
Art by Tia Garcia