What Are Sustainable Materials?
Sustainability has been a big buzzword as of late. But what exactly are sustainable materials?
And why should you be seeking out companies who utilize sustainable practices in their supply chain? Below we have all of your questions answered.
From how production processes can benefit from sustainable materials to how your financial contribution towards these systems can lead to a low environmental impact. Ready to get started?
See Related: Why Zero Waste Is Important
What's the point of using sustainable materials?
Let's start with the big question first: why use sustainable materials? The point behind using a sustainable alternative ultimately lies in expanding the life cycle of any product.
Typically, products begin with the manufacturing process, then end with disposal. But what if the composite materials used could actually step into that cycle, avoid negative impacts on the natural environment, and make for a great alternative that utilizes less energy, resources, and money?
That's exactly what sustainable materials aim to do. Think of it as a multi-pronged approach to positively impact the environment, the economy, and our overall quality of living.
What makes sustainable materials sustainable?
There are specific characteristics to look out for when it comes to sustainable materials. So let's see what these natural materials are able to offer.
Such materials pose no health risks
There's no question that the production of petroleum plastics poses certain health risks. Not only to the consumer but to those who are creating the products, using harsh chemicals, and working within those buildings.
Heck, even deodorants made with aluminum can be harmful to the user. Which is why we've committed to making the best aluminum free deodorant we can.
Sustainable building materials, on the other hand, offer a construction material that is not only eco-friendly. But far less harmful to produce than plastic or other synthetic materials.
The raw materials are responsibly sourced
When new materials are produced on a grand scale, it's likely that there are many workers involved who may not be receiving a living wage. Namely because all of the money is being funneled into producing those animal products or other less sustainable materials.
But when natural materials are used, there is a greater chance of workers being compensated fairly for their labor. And the work environment itself is far more safe and healthy since the sales of said materials are not being used to fund a war, harm, or oppress.
The sustainable material is economical
Similarly, sustainable materials are derived from naturally occurring materials. So the cost to harvest and reproduce them is relatively low and utilizes less energy, making for a product with greater durability as well.
On the other hand, you'll see other materials being produced that are expensive and low quality so as to create a shorter life cycle for continued economic labor. This is just one example of how sustainable resources can be used to benefit the economy and working environments.
The raw material consumes few natural resources
Sustainable building material will also consume fewer resources. Because the production is using natural material, energy efficiency is at the forefront of the material production.
Not to mention that such practices can be more efficient than using plastic, fossil fuels, or other synthetic materials that are made with less durability and are far less eco-friendly.
The material can be recycled or reused
Sustainability ultimately aims to give back to the environment. So using recycled material or creating material that can easily be incorporated into one's recycling practice creates a longer life span for the product in question.
Plus, the total energy used to produce this recycled material is less since it's no longer becoming waste after a short amount of time. Thus, once it's recycled, it becomes renewed.
Any waste from these materials can be used as food
Ideally, sustainability aims to invest in material that produces no waste and can safely be consumed by an organism. So even if the material itself can't be recycled, it can still act as food for another material or resource.
This is a different way of thinking of materials as renewable. But it serves the same purpose even for green building material or other sustainable building materials.
Sustainable materials are consistently renewable
Renewable resources are materials that are constantly being replenished. Wood is a perfect example of renewable material in comparison to plastic.
These recycled materials have little environmental impact
Sustainable materials also will have little impact on the environment. They may use natural resources, but for the most part, it won't be utilizing extreme temperatures in order to produce the products.
These materials create a closed loop system
This type of system pertains to renewable resources and energy in that the source itself continues to feed into its continued production. This isn't to say that chemicals can't be used in these types of manufacturing systems though.
So long as chemicals can be reused and pose no danger to the environment, this is technically a good example of sustainable practice. And some within the textile industry are starting to implement these changes.
Bonus: What Is Deodorant Made Of?
Examples of sustainable materials
Now you know what sustainable materials aim to offer. But what are some examples of sustainable materials?
At Papr Cosmetics, we use (you guessed it) paper! Rather than create single use plastic, we house our plastic free deodorant in a biodegradable, recyclable paper tube.
All of our paper packaging is made from 99.98% FSC certified, responsibly sourced paper. And with a 0.02% cornstarch membrane and soy inks based print, we continue to utilize natural materials even when it comes to aesthetic packaging.
Another example of sustainable material is wood and wood pulp. Wood has been used as an infinitely renewable resource for centuries, especially when forestry is managed correctly.
To demonstrate our commitment to the sustainability of wood, we plant a new tree every time we take one tree down. That way, we can maintain our mission to being a climate neutral company while investing in projects and organizations that save, harvest, and replant Ancient Redwood and Sequoia Trees.
Lastly, bamboo is another natural resource that is incredibly durable, economical, renewable, reusable, and efficient. When paired with other sustainable materials like wood, bamboo can offer an enormous range of material for green buildings, household products, and more.
The bottom line
Sustainable materials have everyone's best interests in mind: the environment, the economy, the overall lifecycle of products, and the humans making them. So join us at PAPR Cosmetics and invest in companies like ours using sustainable materials to produce things like zero waste deodorant, The Everything Stick, and more.
PAPR Cosmetics is on a mission to create conscious beauty products with as little impact on the planet as possible. Our products are fully recyclable, vegan, and cruelty-free. When we take down one tree, we plant a new one. For more information and sustainability tips, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, TikTok, YouTube, and Tumblr.