Are Aveda products biodegradable? (9 benefits of eco-steps by Aveda)

This article will explore the biodegradability status of Aveda products. Other covered topics would include: 

  • Are Aveda products biodegradable?
  • Are Aveda products sustainable?
  • Are Aveda products made from natural ingredients?
  • How sustainable is the packaging used by Aveda products?
  • Can Aveda products be recycled?
  • How to dispose of Aveda products properly?
  • What are the eco-steps taken by Aveda?
  • FAQs

Are Aveda products biodegradable?

Aveda products are natural and biodegradable and its packaging is recyclable for most products and its production uses clean energy.

Many of the ingredients are indeed natural such as root extracts and fruit peel extracts, however, upon close examination following synthetic ingredients are observed which are the same as other conventional shampoos. These include detergents (disodium laureth sulfosuccinate), conditioning ingredients, preservatives (parabens, isothiazolinones), artificial fragrances etc.

Aveda does not use biodegradable packaging. Instead, it uses Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) packaging which is lightweight and 100% recyclable. The future is expected to also factor in biodegradable and compostable packaging. 

Aveda has been and is one of the leading companies to take up the task of turning their whole operation. The company representatives say that they plan to make 100% of their products biodegradable in the near future and will 100% of their packaging from recycled materials.

Does Aveda produce biodegradable products?

Aveda is an American cosmetics company owned by Estee Lauder Companies. Aveda has been at the forefront of sustainable cosmetics production and has taken a leading role. It claims that all of its products are natural, biodegradable and its packaging is recyclable for most products and its production uses clean energy but are the products indeed biodegradable? 

Biodegradability of a product means that it is completely made from or most of its ingredients are made from natural substances that can be degraded in nature in less than a year, unlike synthetic non-biodegradable products which can remain on the planet for thousands of years and harm the environment.

Most of the products of Aveda can be considered biodegradable as they are made or sourced from natural substances or at least what the company claims can be degraded in nature by microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi.

There are two factors or aspects that can tell if something is biodegradable or not. One is how lasting it is in a natural setting and the other is what is the environmental impact of a particular product. 

By definition, biodegradability is the degradation that is caused by microbes. These microbes may include bacteria, fungi, algae, protozoa, and even yeast. 

Biodegradability is an important factor to assess how green or sustainable a product is. The general rule of thumb regarding biodegradability is that natural materials are more prone to biodegradability as compared to non-natural materials. 

If Aveda claims its products to be biodegradable, it is plausible that its products will contain natural ingredients that can be used by the microbes as food. 

Are Aveda products sustainable?

The question of sustainability is different from biodegradability as it is possible that a product may be biodegradable but unsustainable at the same time. Sustainability of a product means that it is produced using those ingredients for which the environment is not negatively impacted and their continuous production will not harm the environment.

For example, if a product uses palm oil which is a natural and biodegradable substance but producing palm oil requires a lot of lands and has been in question for many decades due to deforestation activities to produce it hence it is considered unsustainable.

In a similar fashion, there are some ingredients in the products of Aveda which are unsustainable as of yet i.e Petrochemicals and parabens etc. Aveda says that they are working to minimise the use or to completely replace them with other sustainable substances.

Are all aveda products made from natural ingredients?

No, few aveda products are made from or contain a substantial amount of synthetic substances. For example, aveda shampoo has especially come under the spotlight for containing synthetic and harmful chemicals. Many environmentalists say that Aveda’s claim that all their products are natural is just marketing hype.

But a fact that needs to be considered is that aveda has come a long way in developing natural products and has put a lot of time and effort and still promises to change its products which do not as of yet correspond to standards of sustainability and aveda has to be given credit. 

This is also plausible because the world is experiencing a slow but progressive shift toward eco-friendly and sustainability. For this to be achieved, certain compromises on the utility also have to be made. That is why it is not possible to entirely shift toward natural ingredients because then a tradeoff will have to be made between the environment and the economy.  

Are the ingredients of aveda shampoo natural or biodegradable?

Many of the ingredients are indeed natural such as roots extracts and fruit peel extracts but the same is the case with other shampoos available in the market they also contain some natural ingredients but what aveda prizes itself for is that all their products are naturally made is not true in case of its shampoos and we’ll see the composition to find out.

While observing the ingredients on the back of aveda shampoo, you’ll observe that aveda has used almost the same kind of formula used by conventional shampoos but they did not follow the proper labelling list to confuse consumers that they may not be able to detect any unnatural substances.

Upon close examination following synthetic ingredients are observed which are the same as other conventional shampoos. These include detergents (disodium laureth sulfosuccinate), conditioning ingredients, preservatives (parabens, isothiazolinones), artificial fragrances etc.

These are harmful to marine life as many of them are non-biodegradable, some are toxic and all are synthetic. That is the prime reason why aveda stated that their shampoos must not be used near open lakes and have to be used where wastewater first goes through treatment facilities. 

Is the packaging used by aveda biodegradable?

No, aveda does not use biodegradable packaging. Instead, it uses Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) packaging which is lightweight and 100% recyclable.

It is understandable that most cosmetics cannot be held for long inside biodegradable packaging and can leak out or the packaging may degrade before the expiry of the product so there is nothing wrong in using recyclable plastic as long as the company does the life cycle analysis which aveda claims they have done. 

What is the recyclability of aveda product packaging?

Aveda has been the pioneer of recycling programs since its launch of the recycling bottle caps program back in 2008 in which the company asked customers to leave cosmetic bottle caps from any brand that are made from PET to aveda stores and since then the company has expanded its “bring back” initiative.

Aveda has recently launched a full circle recycling program whereby it asked customers to bring back used aveda PET packaging to aveda experience stores in order to get points for which the customers can get more products and aveda uses these waste bottles to turn into new bottles by recycling. It says that now 85% of all its products are packaged through recycled PET.

How to dispose of aveda products properly?

As advertised by aveda, all of its packaging of used products can be sent back to its stores so they can be recycled or reused. Regarding the products such as shampoos and hand wash etc, aveda recommends them to be used where wastewater goes through treatment facilities so that the harmful chemicals can be left out of the water.

We have discussed earlier that aveda shampoo which is more commonly known as sham pure contains some amount of synthetic and toxic chemicals which is why it is not recommended to throw them directly in rivers and lakes or to use them near these water bodies.

What is Aveda currently doing to further reduce its environmental impact? (9 benefits of eco-steps) 

Aveda has been and is one of the leading companies to take up the task of turning their whole operation. The company representatives say that they plan to make 100% of their products biodegradable in the near future and will 100% of their packaging from recycled materials.

This will enrich the environment with a number of benefits that will include: 

  • Better waste management
  • Better resource management
  • Decreased GHG emissions
  • Decreased global warming
  • Increased reliance on renewable resources
  • Decreased LCA 
  • Decreased use of chemicals 
  • The sustainable strain on raw materials 
  • Better utilisation of resources 

Conclusion

It is concluded that Aveda products are natural, biodegradable and its packaging is recyclable for most products and its production uses clean energy.

Many of the ingredients are indeed natural such as root extracts and fruit peel extracts, however, upon close examination following synthetic ingredients are observed which are the same as other conventional shampoos. These include detergents (disodium laureth sulfosuccinate), conditioning ingredients, preservatives (parabens, isothiazolinones), artificial fragrances etc.

Aveda does not use biodegradable packaging. Instead, it uses Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) packaging which is lightweight and 100% recyclable. The future is expected to also factor in biodegradable and compostable packaging. 

Aveda has been and is one of the leading companies to take up the task of turning their whole operation. The company representatives say that they plan to make 100% of their products biodegradable in the near future and will 100% of their packaging from recycled materials.

Frequently Asked Questions: Are Aveda products biodegradable?

Are Aveda products eco-friendly?

Yes, Aveda products are natural and biodegradable and its packaging is recyclable for most products and its production uses clean energy.

Can you compost Aveda?

No, you can not compost Aveda products or their packaging because there is the usage of plastic materials and synthetic chemicals. 

References

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