When aerosol cans were invented in the mid-20th century, they seemed revolutionary. Hairspray was a brand new way to keep chic hairstyles in place—and for a long time, it worked. Knowing what we know now, however, about the damage aerosols impart on our environment, it’s high time we take a step back and consider our options. Why are aerosols so unsustainable? How can we wave goodbye to this long-standing product? And finally, what are our options in terms of an aerosol-free hair care future?
THE NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF AEROSOLS
It’s important to note that the term “aerosol” covers a lot of ground. Seaspray from the ocean, for example, is an aerosol. Essentially, the term covers natural or synthetic particles that are released into our atmosphere. The issue regarding hair care and beauty products is aerosol cans that contain everything from hairspray to dry shampoo to sunscreen and bug spray.
Formally, aerosol can products contained a chemical known as chlorofluorocarbon, or CFC. While the production of CFC products has largely halted, this chemical is partly responsible for damaging the ozone layer, which protects us from harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
Aerosol cans are just one of the many man-made inventions that contain volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, which are a leading cause of air pollution across our planet. This smog is an insult to our health in many ways. It can cause breathing issues and other physical problems in humans, negatively impact flora and fauna, destroy natural ecosystems, and play a major role in the overall global warming of our planet.
On top of emitting hazardous chemicals and gases, aerosol cans are known to increase radiation, and the sheer disposal of empty products can be severely damaging to our environment.
WAVING GOODBYE TO AEROSOLS
With all of this in mind, it’s time we wave goodbye to these problematic products. Although steps have been taken to create more sustainable aerosol products, there simply isn’t a good way around preventing harmful VOCs from being emitted into the air by aerosol cans. It’s time to consciously seek out more sustainable alternatives. Whether you need a reef-safe sunscreen or a deet-free bug spray, there are plenty of products on the market that are far more eco-friendly and better for your health.
In terms of disposing of your aerosol cans safely, we have a few tips. First and foremost, it is best to use up any remaining products you have left. If you don’t, it makes the recycling process near-impossible, as the cans have to be labeled as hazardous waste. Second, once you have empty aerosols that are ready to be disposed of, find out whether your local recycling facility allows you to group them with regular metal waste or if they fall into their separate category. Either way, the majority of aerosol cans are made of aluminum and can therefore be recycled and turned into new products repeatedly. As long as they find their way into a recycling expert’s hands and don’t wind up in a landfill, the process is perfectly safe.
Thankfully, there are now eco-friendly hair care alternatives that make replacing aerosol products easy.
Say hello to INSIGHT Ecospray and Ecomousse. Our Medium and Strong Hold Ecospray provide the same hold as traditional hairspray, without the hazardous gas. Suitable for all hair types, Ecosprays resist moisture and humidity, dry quickly and without residue, and impart volume and shine. Our Volumizing Shaping Ecomousse is also sustainable and gas-free. Designed to give body, volume, and elasticity to medium to thin locks, this product can be distributed to towel-dried curls via a comb or your hands before styling.
It will take time, commitment, and work to undo the damage done by our past beauty and body care products. Still, we can move towards a more sustainable future by taking the small steps necessary to remove things like aerosol cans from our lifestyle.